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How to Fly to Cancun for Free Using Miles and Points

Find out how to earn miles and points toward free award flights to Cancun, Mexico, one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Cancun is the largest city in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, in the northeast of Mexico. And, it is the biggest and most well-known tourist attraction on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

It is a popular tourist destination for people from North and South America as well as Europe.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the various options to use miles and points to fly to Cancun for free.

Delta SkyMiles

To start off looking at how to fly to Cancun using miles and points, let’s look at Delta SkyMiles.

Delta flies year-round to Cancun from:

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • New York–JFK
  • Salt Lake City

Delta also flies to Cancun seasonally from:

  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Hartford
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Milwaukee
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • Orlando
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh/Durham
  • Seattle
  • Tampa

Delta no longer keeps a fixed award chart that lists out specific costs for each region or route.

How much you’ll pay in SkyMiles on an award flight depends on the route, dates, and timing of the flights.

With Delta, more so than with any other airline, it pays to have as much flexibility as possible.

It could cost you anywhere from 12,000 to 40,000 or more Delta SkyMiles for a one-way ticket to Cancun, plus taxes and fees. Delta also offers regular sales on award flights,  if you’re looking to save even more money.

If you need more SkyMiles, you can transfer over your American Express points. Delta is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards to top off your Delta balance.

United MileagePlus

Another option to fly to Cancun is using United MileagePlus miles.

United flies to Cancun from:

  • Chicago–O'Hare
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Washington–Dulles

It costs 17,500 United MileagePlus miles for a one-way economy ticket from the U.S. to Cancun. A one-way business class ticket costs you 30,000 MileagePlus miles.

All mileage costs don’t include taxes and fees, and you can get a round trip flight for twice the cost.

If you need more United MileagePlus miles, United is a 1:1 partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That can be a great way to top off your MileagePlus balance.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Southwest can be another option to fly to Cancun from much of the US.

Southwest flies year-round to Cancun from:

  • Baltimore
  • Chicago–Midway
  • Denver
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Houston–Hobby
  • St. Louis

Flights are available seasonally to Cancun from:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Columbus–Glenn
  • Indianapolis
  • Milwaukee
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • Pittsburgh
  • San Antonio

The cost of an award flight with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards points is directly tied to the cash cost of the same flight, at a ratio of around 1 Rapid Rewards point to 1.33 cents.

So, to find the cheapest cost using points, you’ll want to be as flexible as possible with your routing and date choices.

Like United, Southwest is also a 1:1 partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That can be a great way to top off your Rapid Rewards point balance.

JetBlue TrueBlue

JetBlue is another option to fly to Cancun for free using miles and points.

JetBlue flies to Cancun from:

  • Boston
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • New York–JFK
  • Orlando

Like Southwest, JetBlue’s TrueBlue points are tied to the cash cost of the ticket, so the more flexible you can be with your routing or dates, the cheaper the cost will be. 

JetBlue is a transfer partner of all 5 of the major transferrable currencies - Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture miles, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Bonvoy points.

Fly to Cancun with American Airlines AAdvantage miles

Now let’s explore flying from the U.S. to Cancun using American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines flies to Cancun from:

  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago–O'Hare
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Miami
  • New York–JFK
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix

American’s low-level award availability is called “sAAver availability” and that is the one you’ll be looking for if you want 

If sAAver availability is available for your dates and routes, a one way flight from the US to Cancun in economy will cost 15,000 American AAdvantage miles during peak times. Business Class is 25,000 miles one way and First Class costs 50,000 miles one way.

Between April 21 and May 20 and again from September 9 to November 18 are “off-peak” dates with American Airlines.

During those dates, you can fly in economy class for only 12,500 AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines does sometimes offer “Web Economy Specials”. These are a special type of online award that cost less but also come with some restrictions.

Frontier

Frontier is another option to fly to Cancun for free using miles and points.

Frontier is considered an ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC).

They fly to Cancun from:

  • Chicago–O'Hare
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Newark
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Cincinnati
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City

Because Frontier’s model includes low base fares, they also charge for most other amenities. Expect to pay extra for checked and carry on luggage, seats and in-flight food.


Frontier charges as low as 15,000 Frontier miles (plus taxes and fees) for a one-way flight from the US to Mexico.

Because Frontier’s cash prices are so low, you may be able to find a better deal using cash and then pay for it with flexible points (see below).

Spirit Airlines

Another ULCC airline that flies from the US to Cancun is Spirit Airlines.

Spirit flies directly  to Cancun from:

  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Chicago–O'Hare
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Detroit
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Houston
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh

Like Frontier, Spirit offers a low cash fare and then charges for other amenities. On Spirit, you’ll pay extra for seat choice, checked and carry on luggage and in-flight snacks and food. 

Spirit’s award chart is distance-based -- so the amount of miles required to fly to Cancun will vary depending on where you’re flying from.

It can be as low as 10,000 miles for a one-way during peak times or 2500 miles during off-peak times.

Spirit’s cash fares are generally quite low, and their mileage program has many fees and restrictions (all Spirit miles expire after only THREE months of inactivity!).

So if you’re planning on flying Spirit, I would recommend using flexible points to book a cash fare with Spirit (again, see below).

Using Cash- or Fixed-Value Points 

Using airline miles like we’ve talked about so far can be an attractive way to fly business class to Cancun.

But if you plan on flying in economy class, you’ll also want to look at the cash fares.

Cash fares from the U.S. to Cancun can be very cheap, especially if you are flying during an off-peak time.

Here’s an example of a round trip flight on American Airlines from Miami to Cancun for only $164.

And just because you’ve found a great cash fare doesn’t mean that you actually have to pay with cash. Some miles and points work as “fixed value” points.

These are points that are always worth the same amount, no matter how you spend them.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You could use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book the flight with your Ultimate Rewards, at a value of 1.5 cents per Ultimate Reward point.

In this case, if you wanted to book this American Airlines flight from Miami to Cancun, it would cost you 10,933 Ultimate Rewards (16400 / 1.5).

Compare that to using your American Airlines miles to book an award flight. A peak round trip award flight would cost 30,000 American Airlines miles - significantly more! Other types of fixed value miles and points would be points earned by cards like the Citi Premier or Capital One Venture cards.

American Express Membership Rewards (Business Platinum, to be specific)

Another way that you can use miles and points to book a cash ticket like this involves the American Express Business Platinum card.

You can always use your American Express Membership Rewards points to book flights through Amex Travel, with a value of 1 cent per point. One of the special perks of the Business Platinum card is that for economy flights on your chosen airline you receive a 35% rebate of your points. 

Continuing with the example, you would pay 16,400 Membership Rewards points for the American Airlines flight to Cancun.

If you had the Business Platinum card with American as your chosen airline, you would then get a rebate of 5,740 Membership Rewards points back. This would mean your total cost would be 10,660 Membership Rewards points.

Other Options to Fly to Cancun With Miles and Points

There are a couple of other mileage programs that you might use to fly to Cancun for free using miles and points:

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines does offer one seasonal direct flight from Seattle to Cancun.

They also have more options through their partnership with American Airlines. You can use your Alaska miles to fly to Cancun on any American Airlines flight. One way award tickets to Cancun cost 17,500 Alaska miles in economy or 27,500 miles in business class.

British Airways

British Airways does not fly directly from the US to Cancun, but is a oneworld alliance partner with American Airlines.

British Airways has a distance-based award chart. This means that within North America, flights under 1151 flown miles only cost 7500 Avios.

Flights between 1152 and 2000 flown miles (which covers most of the U.S.) cost 10,000 Avios one-way, plus taxes and fees. British Airways Avios are a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards

Best Travel Credit Cards to Consider

The easiest way to get a lot of credit card points and miles is through credit card welcome bonuses. Here are a few cards that can give you airline miles:

  • Citi American Airlines Platinum
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club card
  • American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card
  • Frontier Airlines Mastercard
  • JetBlue Plus Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

Some other cards give bank-issued points.

With those, you can use them as fixed value points on a cash ticket or transfer them to airline partners.

Here are a few cards that give bank-issued points:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • American Express Business Platinum Card
  • Capital One Venture 
  • Citi ThankYou Premier

Hopefully, these tips will help you as you look to plan your next trip to Cancun for free with miles and points!